Background and purposes of SEZs
- SEZs have been set up under SEZ Act 2005 to promote exports from India.
- To promote manufacturing in India.
- Attract FDI
- Government has been accused to be biased towards the industries at the cost of farmers and land owners.
- Farmers coerced to sell their land, most of which has been fertile land, leading to loss of cultivation in the country.
- As per the CAG report, 80% of the 4842 hectares of allotted land has been unutilised.
- The SEZ has brought both social and economic disadvantages to the country.
- States have negotiated for the corporates, promoting crony capitalism.
- Farmers became jobless, so were their sons deriving job from agriculture. Dependency increased on the compensation which has been neither timely nor adequate.
- Tax breaks, cheap electricity to the promoters of SEZ also costed the state it’s revenue. It was rather a waste.
- Out of the expected 12.5 lakh job opportunities SEZ was intended to create, only 42,000 have been created.
- The other issues like the lack of skill development, multiple regulatory compliance certificates etc have called for a serious review of the SEZ policy of the government.
- There has to be a coordinated approach. SEZs are welcome but the sops given must be linked with the performance and results.
- Bharatmala, Sagarmala, skill development programmes, Make in India etc schemes have to be integrated along with the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 to derive the maximum out of the allocation to SEZs.